Things may seem darkest just before dawn, but light and hope always break anew. A reminder of the abundance of good in the world – and our ability to channel it and make it grow -- is as welcome as an ocean breeze. World-renowned label Hidden Beach Entertainment continue in their tradition of quality music with the unveiling of a musical sanctuary, a trove of aural treasure designed to refresh our souls and remind us of the positivity available through artistry. Prepare yourself for an unparalleled artistic gift: the CD Hidden Beach presents:The Original Jill Scott From The Vault Vol. 1, a jaw-dropping collection of mostly unreleased music performed by the inimitable Grammy® Award winning Philly singer, songwriter, poet, and actress – Jill Scott. This spectacular collection – due August 30, 2011 -- offers new tracks, alternate versions, bonus material, and unknown classics that will impress new fans of Scott’s screen work and thoroughly thrill those who have followed Scott’s career since her stunning 2000 Hidden Beach debut, Who Is Jill Scott? Words + Sounds, Vol. 1. The music contained within the new collection represents the essence of Jill Scott’s artistic gifts, and is a conduit to healing on both the personal and community levels.
“We’ve always maintained that Jill was one of the most talented artists of her generation. Our agreement with Jill to open up the vault and share the treasures inside with her fans is a huge win for music lovers everywhere,” states Hidden Beach CEO Steve McKeever. “Our special project, along with her recently released studio album, effectively end a long Jill Scott drought with a monsoon of artistry at its best.”
The deluge was kicked off with Jill’s glorious version of the Bill Withers’ classic “Lovely Day,” enthusiastically endorsed by the Withers family who had hoped she would one day record the song. Produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff, the tune shows off Scott’s powerful lower vocal register and her notable capacity for injecting authenticity and raw emotion into every syllable she sings. The tune’s powerful message is being accompanied into the market with the launch of a brand-new “Do Good. Feel Better. Have A Lovely Day” campaign, in which fans are encouraged to perform random acts of kindness and engage in volunteerism within their communities. This
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pay-it-forward approach is in keeping with both the corporate good will mission of Hidden Beach and Jill’s
own sense of humanitarianism
The campaign includes a video contest, in association with the Centric channel, for both emerging filmmakers and fans, who can compete by creating their own images of community enrichment using the “Lovely Day” tune. Winners will see their video featured on CentricTV.com and highlighted on the Centric channel as well as receive a $500 donation to the charity of their choice. The brainchild of Fortress Marketing guru Thornell Jones, the “Have A ‘Lovely Day’” campaign will also extend to partnerships with other community outreach organizations, such as Dress For Success™, a national organization that helps women re-enter the job market with job skills and interview clothing.
In fact, The Original Jill Scott is a love letter to Scott’s diehard fan base with a collection of tunes recorded during studio sessions producing material for Scott’s series of successful album releases. Jill worked with Hidden Beach executives to handpick the tracks for this collection, which is being offered in a Standard version and in a Deluxe Edition featuring extended versions, bonus tracks, special silver foil packaging along with a 20 page booklet with full lyrics and producer notes. ”Sometimes things are locked away in a vault because they aren’t meant to be seen. But when Jill was creating this music, we knew we were holding it for a special occasion,” says label honcho McKeever. “We are so blessed to have this treasure trove of material from Jill, and now is the time to release it.”
In addition to fellow Philadelphian Jazzy Jeff, a number of top producers teamed with Jill to create the set’s 12 magical tracks. The collection features the work of Ronald “P-Nutt” Frost, Dre & Vidal, Carvin & Ivan, Anthony Bell, Alric & Boyd, and Adam Blackstone. Overall, the music of The Original Jill Scott is strongly reminiscent of the first time we’d heard Jill. The thoughtful poetess and soulful contralto diva from the depths of the Philly groove scene has surprised and endeared us with her ability to scale angelic soprano heights and power through funky power anthems. Perhaps no other artist speaks so eloquently to those moments of pain, joy, doubt, and determination that define the human experience.
“Music can heal the world,” declares producer Robert “P-Nut” Frost, who is represented by “Comes To Light (Everything),” “Dear Mr. & Mrs. Record Industry” and “Wake Up Baby” on the new collection. “With the state of the world right now, we need to hear something different and do something uplifting. We need to put something in people's minds to change it. Jill is the best thing for it,” he declares.
Jill’s talent impresses other collaborators as well. Keyboardist and musical director Peter Kuzma declares, “Jill always seemed to know just what was right for the music and recorded vocals as if they were written thousands of years prior. A true songwriter.”
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“It was a memorable experience working with Jill,” say Jamaican dancehall DJs and producers Alric & Boyd, whose work graces the sexy “Love To Love,” which was recorded in Philadelphia and mixed in Kingston. “When she actually recorded the song we were transported to a magical place.”
Producers Carvin & Ivan, who collaborated on the track “I Don’t Know,” concur. “As always, Jill finds a way to channel different perspectives to get into the character the song calls for,” Ivan Barias notes about the duo’s memorable recording sessions in Philadelphia. “This song combines elements from different genres: It has hip-hop, jazz, progressive rock, and soul elements blended with her storytelling, that only Jill knows how to bridge together to create the unique sound she has become known for,” he adds.
Material on the set covers a broad range of styles and includes “The Light,” in which Jill floats jazz and hip-hop over a Dre & Vidal groove in a tune about inspiration; “Wondering Why?(You Don’t Talk To Me),” a heartbeat-rhythm tune mourning the crumbling of a relationship; “Love To Love,” where Jill flirts over a staggered Jamaican riddim; the straight ahead jazz of “Holding On”; the joyful self-esteem celebration of “Prettier”; the surprising advice of a grandmother to a young girl on the grits ‘n’ gravy groove “Wake Up Baby”; and the 12-minute long meditation “Running Away,” where Jill scats, preaches, laments, and yearns across an enticing melody, giving us a window into her process as it also includes asides and laughter with her band. The set also includes “I Don’t Know,” an upbeat tale of lust at first sight; the hypnotic “Comes To Light (Everything)” in which Jill demonstrates her power to elevate a simple groove with a lyric and performance that taps into the psyche of regret with laser-sharp precision; and Jill’s first live performance of the inspirational, talk-with-God tune “And I Heard.”
The Original Jill Scott will only confirm for listeners why Jill Scott has become one of the most beloved performers on the contemporary soul music landscape, and dovetails nicely with other critically hailed Hidden Beach releases The Real Thing: Words + Sounds Vol. 3 (2007); Beautifully Human: Words + Sounds Vol. 2 (2004); the live set Experience: Jill Scott 826+ (2001).